The Mudejar Aragones example of outstanding universal value and Mudejar Art. Information about Aragon. Spain

The Mudejar Aragones example of outstanding universal value and Mudejar Art. Aragon, as it is. Spain

Aragon in English

UNESCO has declared the Mudejar Aragonese art World Heritage. This recognition supposes the extension of the one that was already done with the Mudejar Architecture of Teruel in 1986, reason why it comes to corroborate the universal and exceptional value of this art, within the Autonomous Community of Aragon.

To exemplify this recognition, six new monuments have been chosen, in addition to those already existing in Teruel, located in the province of Zaragoza (three in the capital and three in the Comarca of Calatayud.

The candidature was approved in June 2000 by the Committee of Spanish Historical Heritage, and presented by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, on June 19 of the same year.

The Mudejar de Aragon is an exceptional art, reflecting a historical moment (XII-XVII centuries), in which three cultures coexisted in Aragonese, Christian, Islamic and Jewish. In Aragon this coexistence was more respectful than in other areas of the Iberian Peninsula, and this atmosphere of peace and respect resulted in the realization in Aragon of the largest number of Mudejar works in the entire peninsula. Thus works of the most varied nature (architecture, painting, plasterwork, goldsmithing, wood ...) were born, of which many examples are preserved, among them the selected monuments, as they are the most representative and those that best reflect the Mudejar phenomenon as historical and cultural fact. In total there are more than 150 monuments in Aragon, most of them concentrated in the province of Zaragoza, although they are also present in the provinces of Huesca and Teruel.

In Aragon a unitary art was created that used massively the brick and the ceramics, exit always of magnificent local workshops, but at the same time varied, since a great diversity of typologies was given according to the needs of each moment and zone. From this adaptation to the national circumstances, unique typologies in the world such as the declared goods, described below:

Declaration process

The November 28, 1986 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declared the Mudejar Architecture of Teruel World Heritage. It included the Roof and Tower of the Cathedral of Santa María de Mediavilla, the Tower of the Church of San Pedro, the Tower of the Church of El Salvador and the Tower of the Church of San Martin.

The June 13, 2000 was approved by the Committee of Spanish Historical Heritage the candidacy of mudejar de Aragon (as an extension of the declaration of Mudejar Architecture of Teruel), at the proposal of the Government of Aragon and endorsed by numerous public and private institutions. Six days later, (June 19, 2000) the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports presented all the Spanish candidacies that have opted in 2001 for the declaration as Patrimony World on the part of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, among which is the Mudejar of Aragon.

A end of this month (June 2000), the first shipment of documentation to ICOMOS International, advisory body of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, is carried out for in-depth study. This was followed by another three documentation shipments in February, May and June 2001, and the visit of an evaluating member of ICOMOS International to inspect the goods included in the proposal extension.

The Office of the World Heritage Committee in Paris (France) recommended in the last days of June 2001 the candidacy of the Mudejar of Aragon to be examined at the session of the World Heritage Committee in Helsinki (Finland). This occurs, in an extraordinary way, between December 7 and 8 of the current year; The 25th official session of the World Heritage Committee began on December 11, with a duration of five days.

Justification of the Candidacy

In 1986, UNESCO included in the list of World Heritage five monuments of the city of Teruel that represented the Mudejar art of the Autonomous Community of Aragon. Subsequent research conducted in this area, as well as the changes made in the way of "seeing and understanding" the Cultural Heritage, made it advisable to incorporate other Mudejar monuments into this declaration in order to encompass and comprehend the Mudejar phenomenon in a universal way its complexity.

The requested extension allows explaining a sociological manifestation of several centuries, which occurs mainly in the ancient Kingdom of Aragon during the twelfth to seventeenth century. That is, the coexistence and interrelation between three cultures (Muslim, Christian and Jewish) that during all that time coexisted peacefully exchanging knowledge and experiences, of which architecture, decorative arts and archaeological heritage are the best preserved witness, together with the great number of etymologically Arabic terms that persist in the Spanish language.

The Mudejar material culture has transcended in space and time thanks to the historical processes of conquest and colonization of new lands, and that currently extends to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Castilla la Mancha, Extremadura, Andalusia and the Canary Islands. The constructive techniques also passed to Portugal, and to Latin America where there are numerous examples of buildings built following this architectural tradition. But not only has it overcome geographical barriers, but also temporary ones, because even today these types of constructive techniques continue to be used, keeping our roots and cultural identity alive.

In short, it aims to exemplify a moment in the history of Spain in which the Arab and Christian cultures and, often, the Jewish were able to live together peacefully. The knowledge and dissemination of these phenomena can contribute to the development of the universal values of culture and peace. Aragon is the only Autonomous Community where this fact has been recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO for being unique and irreplaceable for Humanity.

New World Heritage Monuments

The six monuments selected to be included in the World Heritage stand out for the conservation of their original projects since, although the factories have undergone minor reforms over time and inevitably have had to replace material parts for better conservation, in none of the cases the Mudejar essence of the work has been distorted.

1.- IGLESIA PARROQUIAL DE LA ASUNCION - Cervera de la Cañada (Zaragoza)

Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic).
Building date: XIV-XV centuries, ending its construction in 1426.
Description of the property: Church-fortress built by the master Mahoma Rami, with a single nave, three sections, polygonal apse and side chapels between the buttresses, on which runs a tribune characteristic of the churches - Mudejar fortress. The cover is simple cruising. The choir has a decorated and painted alfarje with heraldic and geometric motifs, and an inscription in plaster in which the master builder is read and the year of completion of the church. The entire interior is profusely decorated with painted stencils that completely cover the walls and the real structure of the church, and plasterwork in the windows and on the parapet of the choir, with geometric and vegetal motifs.
The exterior presents the typology of strength with two towers - abutments and a walker. The cover is Gothic with plaster.
Materials employed: Brick, stone, plaster and wood.
State of conservation of the monument: The work of restoration, is aimed at the recovery of Mudejar motifs such as the painting of the apse hidden by another Baroque era and the consolidation of the one that covers the whole nave and that is original of the XV century, in the same way that most of the plasterwork (windows, choir sill ...) and the bass choir alfarje. Only the flooring has been replaced, since the original was no longer recoverable. The conservation of so many ornamental motifs of the time is exceptional and has only been produced in a small number of monuments such as the churches of Tobed or Torralba de Ribota.

2.- IGLESIA DE SANTA MARÍA - Tobed (Zaragoza)

Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic).
Building date: 2nd half of the 14th century.
Description of the property: Church of straight testero with three open chapels in the head, unique ship of three sections, alternated with other shorter ones, and chapels between the towers-buttresses (that count on internal structure of Almohad minaret). The main sections are covered with simple ribbed vaults, while those of separation are covered with pointed cannon that support the towers-abutments. These towers are, next to the tribune or walker (open to the outside in pointed arcades), the elements that grant the military character (of fortress church) to the temple, which presents a compact and disorganized external volume, except its western facade decorated with bands of geometric motifs in highlighted brick and band of tiles in arrowhead, forming panels. The interior decoration of the church shows paintings and slabs on the walls and vaults, plasterwork carved in windows and oculi, and carpentry work painted on the keys of the vaults and on the raised choir loft, at the foot.
Materials employed: Ladrillo, yeso, cerámica, pintura y madera.
State of conservation of the monument: Building that has hardly undergone reforms and that maintains most of the original interior decoration. It is a decoration especially rich in slogans, paintings, plasterwork and a polychrome alfarje that were the fruit of the patronage of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, which in this place had an encomienda, and of Pope Benedict XIII. Even some graffiti of the time of great interest are conserved.
In addition to some sanitation works, in 1984 the Town Hall that was attached to the western side of the church collapsed, revealing the western facade. After the works of restitution of materials and the opening of the original cover, the oculus and the blinded windows recovered their ancient splendor.

3.- Restos mudejares del PALACIO DE LA ALJAFERÍA de Zaragoza

Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic-Renaissance).
Building date: XIV - XV centuries.
Description of the property: From the Mudejar Christian palace several remains have been preserved: the chapel of San Martín, with three naves with three sections each, covered with simple cross vaults and decorated with engravings; the cover is framed with alfiz bordered with diamonds, and the tympanum decorated with mixtilinear arches. The Trovador tower preserves geometric decoration paintings, the palaces of Pedro IV (14th century) and the Catholic Monarchs (15th century) have plasterwork and geometric decoration on some doors, windows and railings, as well as carved and painted ceilings, and ceramic floors. From the destroyed chapel of Saint George, a plaster rosette from the Mudejar tradition is kept in the National Archaeological Museum.
Materials employed: Brick, plaster, wood and paint.
State of conservation of the monument: This is one of the most complex monuments of Aragon in terms of its constructive history, which was the first Islamic royal palace in the eleventh century and, after the Reconquest, the seat of Christian monarchs. It was precisely in this period between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries when the Mudejar phase was developed in which different Aragonese kings built new premises in the enclosure.
Peter IV, who ordered the construction of the Chapel of San Martín, whose Mudejar doorway is from the 15th century and which, although its interior is now a library, preserves its factory perfectly and even fragments of Mudejar agramilada and painted decoration, stood out, which have already been consolidated. In addition, this monarch raised the upper part of the palace with a series of rooms that were reformed in the time of the Catholic Monarchs, but of which there are still interesting remains such as windows and doors of plaster, whose recovery has prevailed in the recent restoration and rehabilitation of the whole (1978-1988).
From the palace built by the Catholic Monarchs on that of Pedro IV are preserved important structures such as the staircase that leads to the top floor, with a spectacular plasterwork balustrade, and four wooden roofs, three taujeles (one of which has been moved to another room for better conservation) and the well-known coffered ceiling of the Throne Room, in addition to several glazed ceramic floors.


Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic).
Building date: XIII - XIV centuries.
Description of the property: Church of three ships of four sections, ambulatory circling the primitive polygonal abiside and cloister at the foot, surrounding the tower. Ships, ambulatory and cloister are covered with simple ribbed vault. The tower, octagonal, has an Almohad minaret structure, covering the stairway with a vault approaching courses. To the outside, it has eight floors separated by corner friezes, the decoration being concentrated on the two lower floors, with motifs of spica and half-point arches interlocked, and in the one of bells with pointed openings sheltering twin túmidos arches and bands of arches and rhombuses. The last two bodies have vain and ceramic decoration.
Materials employed: Brick, plaster and ceramic.
State of conservation of the monument: This important church in Zaragoza has an interesting constructive history. The mudejar part focuses on the body of ships, which was originally one, built as the tower between the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century, but was later expanded to three at the end of the fourteenth century, when it was also built the claustrillo that surrounds the magnificent Mudejar tower.
The construction of several chapels between the 15th and 18th centuries, in the naves as well as on the feet and headboard, and the construction of a neoclassical façade on the south side distorted the original appearance of the building to a great extent, although inside the disposition of the three ships remained the same. The Mudejar period decoration is preserved, such as the windows of the primitive apse.
However, the most remarkable mudejar element, the tower, retains its original Almohad minaret structure and has not changed its design, (except for the addition of the last Renaissance body and the baroque spire), nor its factory. The rest of the church was consolidated in the decades of the 70s and 80s.


Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic).
Building date: XIII - XIV centuries.
Description of the property: The central apse and the collateral on the west side have been preserved; they have polygonal plant and they are erected on the primitive Romanesque apses, made in stone. Predominantly the decoration of corner and interlocking motifs between the windows, as well as multicolored pottery in the main apse and complicated tracery with the shield of the Luna family in its windows. The chapel of San Miguel or "parroquieta" is a single nave with two sections: that of the presbytery is covered with a file frame of moamares that grazes from the square base to the middle octagon of quadrants; the octagonal almizate is a muqarnas dome. The outer wall is a large canvas, perforated by 4 pointed spans, decorated with motifs made of brick highlighted as mixtilinear arches, bows, diamonds, spikes ... combined with ceramic applications, as well as with the heraldic weapons of Don Lope Fernández de Luna.

The current dome is octagonal on trunks, turned by four pairs of nerves that intersect leaving in the center a new octagon on which the lantern is raised. Inside, the first body is blind and is decorated with niches that house images of the evangelists and the Fathers of the church, and the upper one is set with 8 windows pointed with tracery, as in the lantern but, in this, of smaller size To the outside it has two octagonal bodies and thick buttresses, open with windows and decorated with a diagonal frieze of diamonds.
Materials employed: Brick, plaster, ceramic and wood.
State of conservation of the monument: In this monument dedicated to the Savior, built on the old aljama mosque and the result of many different construction phases, several Mudejar elements stand out.
In the first place, the funerary chapel of Don Lope Fernández de Luna known as La Parroquieta de San Miguel, built at the end of the 14th century and which preserves one of the most beautiful mudejar decoration canvases, in the that the Aragonese and the Sevillian are merged richly.
In addition, inside houses a spectacular armor of limes moamares (variety of which only exists another in all Aragon), preserved in perfect condition.
The other two elements are due to the patronage of Benedict XIII, great impeller of Mudejar art. First of all, it is about the regrowth of the Romanesque apses following the new style and finishing them with battlements typical of Almohad art. And, in second place, a new dome was built on the previous one, which although it also disappeared, kept the lower part while the high one was also rebuilt in the 16th century also in mudejar style, serving as an example to those of other cathedrals such as Teruel and Tarazona.
La Seo del Salvador has been restored since the 1930s; These interventions, with more or less success, have been rid of annexed constructions that impeded their complete vision and enjoyment.
Likewise, in the last 20 years a laborious restoration of the whole temple has been carried out, both from the exterior and from the interior, which has allowed to restore its original aspect and better differentiate its constructive stages.


Architectonic style: mudejar (Gothic-Renaissance).
Building date: XIV - XVI centuries.
Description of the property: The apse, cloister and tower are preserved from the primitive Mudejar construction.
The polygonal apse, built in brick and without buttresses, has arches pointed at the bottom and half a point at the top. The cloister, from the 14th century, has a mudejar structure with a rectangular floor plan, opening the loggia to an interior patio by means of pointed arches, separated by buttresses of rectangular section. The sections are covered with simple ribs, whose nerves rest on attached columns on the side of the patio and corbels on the inner wall. The old chapter house, in the southwestern corner, has a square floor plan and a simple ribbed vault, with access through a pointed arch with triple molding, all in alabaster; the access is flanked by two twinned bays. The octagonal tower, from the late fifteenth century, is run by buttresses on the edges; the lower part houses a chapel covered with ribbed, on which rises the structure of Almohad minaret, double tower, the interior with very thin walls, separated both by vaulted stairs with brick by approach of courses. Externally it has abundant decoration in brick forming cornerstones, rhombuses, crosses and various geometric motifs.
Materials employed: Brick, plaster and alabaster.
State of conservation of the monument: The Collegiate Church has always been the most important church in this locality and for this reason works of extension, reform and adaptation to the new times have been carried out, but at the present time three essential parts of what was the Mudejar building that replaced the the mosque aljama.
In the last work, made in 1998, the cloister has been restored, to permanently settle the factory, and to recover the original mudejar, removing the additions of the 1967 restoration that modified the original project. The apse has never undergone any notable reforms, although some cleaning and restitution of pieces has been done.
The Mudejar tower has never undergone changes in its factory and is currently being restored to clean and replace some bricks badly preserved by erosion.

Other Aspects

The Islam in Aragon.
Distribution of the mudejar in Aragon.

Ample your information on Aragon

If you want to extend your information on Aragon you can begin crossing another interesting route is the Mudejar, Patrimony of the Humanity, also you can extend your cultural knowledge on Aragon examining its municipal and institutional heraldry without forgetting, of course, some of its emblematics figures as Saint George Pattern of Aragon also book of Aragon.

Also Aragon enjoys a diverse and varied Nature where passing by plants, animals or landscapes we can arrive at a fantastic bestiario that lives in its monuments.

The information will not be complete without a stroll by its three provinces: Zaragoza, Teruel and Huesca and his shines, with shutdown in some of its spectacular landscapes like Ordesa, the Moncayo or by opposition the Ebro.

Also you can dedicarte to the intangible ones: from the legend compilation that also does to universal Aragon you can persecute the presence of del Santo Grial in Aragon.

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